Startups in Bristol have dominated a recent competition by BT, the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) and Facebook for its UK Telecom Infra Project Ecosystem Acceleration Centre (TEAC).

“We’re supporting the development of technologies that have the potential to tackle some of our society’s biggest challenges”


Zeetta Networks and KETS Quantum Security both started in Bristol and have won a place at the Centre alongside London-based Unmanned Life.

The three winning companies will gain access to a pool of more than £125m in venture capital funding as well as support and expertise to help develop new innovative technologies aimed at boosting global connectivity, improving network user experience and lowering the overall cost of network infrastructure.

KETS Quantum Security is spinout from the Quantum research lab in Bristol and is developing a cost-effective quantum chip which could potentially boost security for the finance and government sectors.

Zeetta Networks is commercialising the software defined networking operating system developed at the University of Bristol and used in the Bristol is Open networking programme.

Unmanned Life is developing autonomous drones for inspecting pipelines and equipment.

Small businesses, big ideas

“It’s more important than ever before that we seek expertise not only from our home-grown talent and established partners, but also from newly created small businesses,” said Howard Watson, CEO of BT Technology, Service and Operations (above).

“By helping innovative SMEs like Zeetta Networks, KETS and Unmanned Life to grow, to scale up, and access the funding they need to develop even more successful businesses, we’re supporting the development of technologies that have the potential to tackle some of our society’s biggest challenges around connectivity, around security, and accessibility of digital services.”

TEAC is part of TIP which was founded last year by EE, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Nokia, Intel and SK Telecom. TIP has 450 operators, infrastructure providers, system integrators, and other technology companies who are ideal customers for Zeetta and KETS.

In addition to providing visibility and access to funding, the TEAC will be a space for participants to learn how to adapt their solutions to the real operational requirements for rapidly developing areas of network infrastructure such as quantum networking, mission-critical communications, artificial intelligence and programmable networks.

“It’s great to see the telecom community coming together to boost SMEs”


“Fostering innovation is absolutely vital to the economic growth of both London and rest of the UK, so it’s great to see the telecom community coming together to boost SMEs and develop solutions that will help tackle the challenges facing the UK’s digital infrastructure,” said Theo Blackwell, Chief Digital Officer for London. “We need to stay ahead of the game when it comes to developing our networks and security, which is why it’s so important that organisations like BT, TIP and Facebook are collaborating with small businesses in tech hubs to bring the very best innovations to market.”

“Facebook is looking forward to working with BT and TIP to support this start-up accelerator,” said Yael Maguire, VP, Connectivity at Facebook. “Working together, we hope to help identify and support innovation from startups in telecom network infrastructure while helping pave the way for future breakthroughs.”

Further selection rounds will be held on a regular basis, as the UK TEAC expands over the coming year.

There’s more detail on the TEAC project at

Nick Flaherty